Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tomato Rice

I used Mini Mogra Rice for this Tomato Rice.

You have read this before. That a Sunday dinner was always a huge 12 litre Tapela of Masale bhat at our home. That Masale bhat meant traditional, non traditional and many times Tomato rice. Ahem, it reminds me of that family that we found amusing as kids because they insisted on calling bhaat, rice. We thought they were vain but the fact was they were in a different state, outside Maharshtra.

Actually somewhere that family has influenced our food too. The Tomato Rice was introduced by them. My Mom made it our own. This is her recipe. Posting it for Sapna, my SIL because my brothers long for it at times.

What I remember is that this recipe was adapted from the recipe book that came along with my Mother's 11 litre Prestige pressure cooker, her first. Probably it was my Mother's first recipe book too. Until then she just had a diary for recipes, she jotted down when friends visited us. Then she started collecting "Diwali Anka"- Diwali special issues of Marathi magazines.

She would first cook the rice in the cooker. Cool and fluff it. Fry the onions-tomatoes to get a gravy and then mix it. I have further made easy the process. I make the gravy first and then add the rice and then pressure cook. I think my method melds flavors better.

Ingredients

4 tomatoes chopped fine
2 onions sliced
3-4 cloves garlic
1 green chili
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup Rice
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste

Heat oil in a small pressure cooker. Fry the garlic then add the sliced onions. Add chopped green chilies, follow in with tomatoes. Add the spices. Salt to taste.

Now wash the rice. Stir into the masala. Add 2.5 cups water. Pressure cook for just 1 whistle on slow. Switch off the heat. Cool, open and mix.

Fluff up a bit after cooled and serve hot with Koshimbir.

Tip:

This method works well for upto 2 cups of rice. However if you want to make more then follow my Mom's method. Cook rice first and mix with the tomato gravy as explained above. If cooking more than 2 cups of rice directly in Pressure cooker, there is a chance of the rice becoming soft at the bottom. To avoid that and get uniformly cooked rice, do it in the compartments.

Along with this meal I had served Gokak Kardanth. We loved this chewy sweet. Quite like our Dink ladoo. Lots of Dryfruits. Yes and those of you who know this sweet, it was from Sadanand. I bought it at Total Mall, Madivala. There is a guy at the foot of the escalator who sells Karnataka speciality foods viz Katak roti, kardanth, kunda, chutney pudis etc. Go find him.



Gokak Kardanth

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dal Chapati

That's how Mother's are. They hate to serve leftovers to kids. Yet if there is a promise to use leftovers to fortify the regular fresh dough would it interest you?

There is leftover Varan/ Dal and you can do many things to it like make amti, Dal dhokli etc. however this time I used it to make Dal Chapati.

So in this post I resist from giving the recipe. There cannot be one. Be creative add anything else that fancies you, right from pickle oil to veggies etc. This is how I did it. In a kneading bowl removed the Varan mixed in enough wheat flour to get a smooth dough. Adjusted the salt. Let it sit for 10 mins. Kneaded for another 5. Pinched off small portions. Rolled into a ball and swirled out nice round chapatis. These are fortified chapatis with the protein in dals. Too good for Kids. They are super soft too. Try them my nephew loves these when I make it for him. He loves these with tomato sauce. What's your preference pickle, chutney or cream cheese?

It was a nice weekend for me. Met a very beautiful 11 yr old with an individuality of her own. Her eyes had a magical twinkle. I want to see it stay there for life. God bless her.

Today we were at Gurunath Kulkarni's home for the Japanusthan. There were about 25 people. Got to meet some more new people.

It has been a struggle for me for almost 1.5 yrs. Suddenly I came face to face with the truth. I am at peace with myself.

How was yours?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Carrot Tomato Spring Onion Soup

Soup and Mutter pulao

Today is the fourth day, Blr has not seen the sun. The light showers don't seem to stop. The wet clothes are beginning to dominate the space at home.

I fantasize of walking in the soundless rain with him in a single umbrella. My steps slow trying to catch his strides, arm in his waist. He looking down at me, that side-ways glance that I love. Then suddenly Chimi jumps on me and shakes me out of my day dream. I tell her come lets make some grub. A soup to warm my heart.

Ingredients

4 spring onions
2 carrots
1 tomato
1 green chili
handful of cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon on oil
salt and sugar to taste


I go to the fridge pull out the vegetable wash and cut them and put everything into the pressure cooker, the onion greens, carrots, tomato. Allow three whistles. Cool before opening.

In a big soup pot add the oil. Saute the spring onion bulbs. Cover and cook with salt. Add a little water to avoid charring.

Open the cooker and puree the ingredients with cilantro and green chili. Add them to the cooking onion bulbs. Add the cumin powder. Adjust the salt and sugar. Simmer for 5 mins.

I poured it into a steel tumbler and sipped slowly in my new rocking chair.

Clicked on a sunny day so you see the warmth oozing.


For my dear friends: I promise I'll get back on to mails soon.

Friday, November 06, 2009

My First Puff Pastry - Spanakopita


Daring to bake somethings from scratch gives a high always!

I have tried baking pretzels, bagels, French bread etc. but was not getting on to puff pastry. Finally a few months ago I did break the mind block. I always envy the westerners for making cooking so easy with ready to use pastries and other things. Yet the sense of achievement is something I would truly wear when I succeed in one of these experiments.

Puff pastry making would get put off for reasons more than one. I told myself...

  1. It is time consuming.
  2. Difficult
  3. Has a lot of fat
  4. My oven is too small (eh!)

Finally one day. I took the all purpose flour that was lying neglected for some time and decided to turn it into Spanakopita. Just the sound of it inspired me. Google googly said it was a pie with spinach and cheese stuffing. In my kitchen obvious Indian adaptation was going to be palak -paneer. One peer at the paneer the Dad had picked on the rushed errand was Tofu I found out. I had never tried Tofu before as I am not a fan of Soy and its doings (Read this Is Soy healthy?)

Well, I used it up. I wanted to taste it once, though I knew it would not be great. Also I hate to dump things in the dustbin just like that.

It was quite quick to bake and serve. Ideal for party food as it allows preparation ahead of time. Then you are ready to serve warm Spanakopita.

Ingredients

For the puff pastry
2 cups all purpose flour/ maida
1 teaspoon olive oil
a small piece of frozen butter (1.5' X 3')
salt to taste

For the filling

1 big bunch spinach
1 cupe cubed Tofu/ Paneer
1/4 teaspoon Red chili powder
1 green chili chopped fine
salt to taste

To begin, get the filling ready. Pick and clean the spinach. In a big pot add just a bit of water and stir till the spinach is wilted. Drain the extra liquid through a strainer. On a kitchen towel dab the spinach. Put it on a cutting board and chop fine. Transfer the chopped spinach into a big bowl. Add the cubed tofu or paneer. I'd prefer paneer any day. Add the dash of red chili powder and mix in the chopped green chilies. Mix well. Save aside.

The Pastry making begins here. Knead the all purpose flour with salt and water. The dough should be firm but pliable. Add the teaspoon of oil to make it smooth. Keep it aside for 10 mins. Cover with wet cloth to prevent drying.




After 10 mins. Roll the out dough. Place the butter in the center and wrap it to get a square packet like you see here. Now keepin the seam side down roll out into a rectangle though mine looks more like an oval ;).

Fold again like before and roll out. Keep doing this 5 times. Finally when you see a good no. of layers. Roll out to get a thick rectangle, cut into three equal parts.

Roll out each part into 1/4 inch thick rectangles. Spoon out the filling on the three rectangles placing it on a central imaginary line. Turnover the pastry and press so that it holds together while baking.

I used the drip tray for baking to maximize the space in my small oven. So to avoid sticking I covered it with foil and oiled the foil with olive oil. Then carelessly cut up the Spanakopita into manageable pieces and placed them on the tray. Gave a light brush of olive oil to the tops. Pushed the tray into a preheated oven. I baked them for 20 mins at 210 deg celcius.

My puff pastry was less fatty than what we get in fancy outlets. I liked it that way and for once I was watching Dad truely enjoying my baking, ofcourse with sauce.

In the Chip and dip tray however you see the Narali pak (Coconut burfi) in the center well. It turned out to be a very satisfying meal both for the taste buds as well as the mind. I had overcome a mind block after all and it feels great that I learnt one more new thing.

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